A Second Look at West Kelowna's Gellatly Point and Bay

A look back at Gellatly Bay

In the archival image (above top), only two significant structures can be seen next to a dock on Gellatly Point, from which the sternwheeler SS Okanagan had just departed sometime in 1909.

Much of the area of level ground on the delta appears to be cleared and under cultivation. The clearing and planting on Powers Flat, as it was once known, was probably done by the Gellatly family who gained possession of the delta area in 1900 and began growing a variety of nut tree species.

There appears to be only a few smaller structures (likely houses) and only a couple of roads connecting parts of delta and the steamer dock. In the foreground, (lower right) the hillside appears rugged with no evidence of human influence or development.

The modern day colour photo above was taken in July 2019. It shows the same general area of Gellatly Point, Gellatly Bay and the Powers Creek delta, but from a slightly different perspective.

The delta sits at the edge of Okanagan Lake, below the community of Westbank.

In 2007, Westbank and a number of the surrounding Westside communities and areas were incorporated, making Gellatly Point and the Powers Creek delta all part of the new District Municipality of Westside, which later became a city and changed its name to West Kelowna.

In the modern photo, one can see that the north side of Gellatly Point is dominated by a dozen or more large buildings containing scores of units in the condominium complex known as The Cove Lakeside Resort. There are also a couple of large wharves along with a marina and the public boat launch beside the creek.

Numerous private yachts and boats are moored along the shore and several boats can be seen out on the lake.

Construction of residential subdivisions and infrastructure, and the spread and growth of large trees in the area where the archival photo was taken combined to block the view from that place making it necessary to capture the modern image from a location some distance from the where the original was taken.

A horizontal perspective shift can be seen by locating distant features that appear in both photos (eg. Hills 1, 2 and 3) and observing the apparent angular shift in position these features make, relative to objects in the foreground.

Support your local museums, archives and historical societies who are preserving the local history and heritage we all share. Please email your comments and suggestion onto Terry at [email protected]

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

A second look from Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park

Kelowna then and now

Kelowna ... from the southeast corner of Knox Mountain Park in 1906 and 2019

In 1906 the population of the City of Kelowna was estimated at about 600. By 2019, the population had increased more than 200 times to in excess of 125,000 people.

Evidence of this can be readily seen in the (colour) 2019 photo from the vast increase in the number of private structures. One can also see transportation changes, with the steamship “Aberdeen” in 1906 (right in top photo) long since replaced by a modern highway and a bridge.

In the 2019 photo of Kelowna, some city streets, geographic locations and prominent structures have been identified and noted on the image. However, some roads, such as Highway 97 (Harvey Avenue), are difficult to precisely map out due to the high density of modern buildings and trees obscuring the road outline.

The annotations also show several distinctly shaped hills down the east side of the lake which can be identified in both images and used as reference points.

By matching the angle or separation distance between those reference points, as seen in the camera’s viewfinder, to the separation observed in the historical photo, it was possible to capture a modern digital image not far from where the original photographic plate was exposed.

Since the 2019 photo was taken, a number of changes have occurred. As a result, some features were not captured by this photo.

The mostly vacant space along the north side of Clement Avenue, from Richter Street to just west of the Sun Rype buildings, is today filled with a variety of more recent structures. Most notably missing from this shot is the new Canso “One Stop” convenience store, gas station and adjoining car wash.

This historical photo from the Kelowna Public Archives collection was taken by pioneer photographer G.H.E. Hudson. Support your local museums, archives and historical societies , which are preserving the local history and heritage we all share. Please email your comments and suggestions to Terry Robertson at [email protected]

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Then and now view of Okanagan Cente

Taking a Second Look

Today we are introducing a new bi-weekly feature, one that will take a second look at vistas throughout the Okanagan Valley, showing the changes to the local landscape over time. To kick it off, we asked columnist Terry Robertson to explain the origins of the project he calls A Second Look.

This column had its origins some 25 years ago when I was looking for unusual, eye-catching and interesting copy for the bi-weekly “Lake Country Magazine,” which I was publishing back then.

I decided to run a copy of an archival photo of a well-known vista in the community with a few lines of historical information underneath it. Interesting perhaps, but not an exciting or an original idea.

Then the thought struck me that it would intriguing to see if I could take a photo showing the same vista today, more or less from the same viewpoint. Printing both images along with some additional comparative text about the pair of photos would be very unusual if not unique.

One of the first paired images I created was of the old packing house buildings in Okanagan Centre, originally captured in 1948. (See photo above.)

At the time, I was working out of the home I built in 1989 in that same part of Okanagan Centre. So, armed with a camera, a lightweight tripod and a copy of the historical image, I simply stepped outside my front door and positioned the camera in a number of locations nearby.

I observed how the lines, and the angles between objects in the camera viewer changed at different locations and compared them with the same lines and angles between identical objects on the paper image I held in my hand. Once the lines and angles in my digital camera and those in old photo matched, I pressed the camera’s shutter.

At that point, it was eerie to realize that in the space-time continuum, I was as close as possible to the location where, decades earlier, someone stood behind a bulky analogue camera mounted on a heavy tripod to capture the same special vista.

For a brief moment, I was no longer a writer assembling a couple of photos for publication. I was the pilot of a time-machine that was launched at a moment when the old packinghouse was still a going concern, from the spot where I was then standing, just a stone’s throw from where my home would one day be built.

So, this is your pilot speaking. Welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy your upcoming time journeys via the temporal vehicle called, A Second Look.


Okanagan Centre in 1948 and 2023 (from 3rd St. & OK Centre Rd. W)

In 1948, the Okanagan Valley Land Company’s cold storage building (dark block at far left of the 1948 photo above) and its packing house (buildings on the right) dominated the scene as one entered Okanagan Centre from the north. Also notice the overhead, passageway structure connecting the two work areas.

One can also observe the small house near the centre of the1948 photo has been renovated and expanded with among other things the addition of small garage and carport, visible in the 2023 photo (below). Only the cold storage building remains in place just off camera to the left. For many years, it has been used for apple storage, by a local orchardist. One can also see that a cluster of houses now occupy the area where the packinghouse and steamboat wharf once stood.

Unfortunately my original digital photo taken in 1998, which was a close approximation of the field of view shown in the historical photo, disappeared into digital "space-time." To further complicate matters, construction of a three-storey home precludes the capture of an image with the same perspective as the 1948 view. However, thanks to the co-operation of the owners of that home, I was able to take some photos from their third floor patio deck and put together this composite photo.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More A Second Look articles

About the Author

Terry W. Robertson received a bachelor of science degree in geology from UBC in 1970. His studies included physical geography, surveying and air-photo interpretation. Subsequently, he worked in petroleum exploration, initially based in Calgary and from 1978 to 1988 as an independent geological consultant working from his home the Okanagan.

In 1988, he left the oil industry and participated in the start-up and development of several small businesses in Lake Country, including a travel agency and a community newspaper which he edited and published from 1996 to 2003. With two children in local schools at the time and with a passion for politics, Terry was elected as the Lake Country trustee on the Central Okanagan School Board from 1990 to 2002.

He remains interested in politics and was an active supporter of the “Yes” side in the 2018 B.C. referendum on Proportional Representation. He enjoys getting outdoors, as well as travelling and exploring historic sites and museums. In addition, he likes to write about politics, history and geography.

Terry is interested in obtaining old (pre 1970)  photos of landscapes, street scenes or images of prominent structures from the Okanagan or Thompson region. If you possess any such images that you would permit him to copy and use in a future column, or have any comments about his column, please email him at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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